The Indian women won 2-0, continuing from where it had left off and defeated Korea for the second time in as many games to reach the final of the Jharkhand Asian Champions Trophy here on Saturday.
It will now take on Japan in a repeat of the bronze medal match at the Asian Games, seeking only its second title against the defending champion after Japan upset reigning AG champion China 2-1 in the other semifinal. China will play Korea for the 3rd spot.
India’s intentions and attempts were clear from the beginning as the host stayed on the attack and had a couple of penalty corners inside the first five minutes but shot wide. It took brilliant teamwork in the 11th minute to break the deadlock, scoring a goal that was as impressive for its rhythm as its execution.
AS IT HAPPENED: India vs South Korea highlights
Salima Tete stole the ball near the Korean 23-yard line, ran through the middle of the field in a straight line like a bullet and passed on to Vandana Katariya on the left. Vandana sent it to Navneet in a single, fluid motion, who passed it to an unmarked Salima near the far post, and the youngster shot in from an acute angle.
Vaishnavi Phalke, drafted in only two days back after Sonika was ruled out after a collision and possible concussion, shot in a rebound off India’s 3rd penalty corner to double the lead in the 19th minute and although India came close a few more times, it could not increase the lead by half time. Korea, on the other hand, barely had a few half chances.
India continued to push hard post break, but the Koreans held on in defence, closed down the spaces and tried to attack on counters, earning a few PCs but unable to convert. Although she would have hoped for more goals for all the hard work India did on the field, coach Janneke Schopman had expected as much after the previous game and was satisfied with the result.
In the other semifinal, Japan came back from being a goal down in the second half to reach its second successive final in the tournament. It was a tight game, with neither team taking complete control at any point. China tried to score from open play but shot wide repeatedly while Japan focused on penalty corners – it got 11 to China’s 4 – and managed to convert twice, both goals coming on rebounds as the Chinese defence failed to clear cleanly.
In the play-off for the 5th spot, Malaysia got a PC and the lead in the first minute and hung on to it till the end for a 1-0 win against Thailand.
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